David A. Larson, Plymouth
My suggestion: Implement a bass tournament on Mille Lacs, one spring, one fall. Something in the style of the Wave Whackers walleye tournament. The tourney would need to be supported by the state, which would assist with advertising, if not nationally, at least throughout the Midwest. Bass anglers are extremely passionate about their sport and will travel to catch the quality and numbers of smallmouth that are available in Mille Lacs. The tournament location could be moved around the lake to assist the resorts that are undoubtedly going to be impacted.
Fish weighed in could be donated to the locals in the hopes of educating people that smallmouths are pretty good in the frying pan. The tourney may even convince walleye guys to give it a try.
Tim Murphy, Hastings
I agree with the proposal to limit walleye fishing to catch and release. However, I have heard reports of many dead walleyes [that were]caught and released, so why not close Mille Lacs to walleye fishing for two years?
I agree also with the suspension of Chippewa netting. This should also be done for two years and/or the net opening size should be significantly increased and the walleye poundage reduced. Don Pereira, DNR fisheries chief, says big fish are eating small walleye. Hello, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. Unfortunately, some people have yet to admit the muskie is included in this group of big fish eating small walleyes. I say reduce the slot size limit on muskies and increase the number that can be harvested in a single trip. And re-open Mille Lacs to winter northern pike spearing. There wasn’t a walleye problem when spearing was allowed.
Carl Hoffstedt, Golden Valley
Perhaps part of the Mille Lacs problem is that the massive beds of zebra mussels have eliminated some of the spawning habitat for walleyes.
Gary Nelson, Wyoming, Minn.
The majority of the fish caught on Mille Lacs are by long-lining on Lindy rigs or with crankbaits. In both cases a lot of damage is done to the fish when removing the hooks when they are deep hooked. If the slot is going to be set so tight it is going to be a catch-and-release lake anyway; give the fish a better chance when they are released.
After fishing for many years in Manitoba using barbless hooks I find myself using them here in Minnesota. Guess what: If you miss one because it shakes the hook, re-bait and try again.
Jerry Jensen, Glenwood, Minn.